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What affects the amount of alcohol in your blood?

The amount of alcohol in the blood is known as the blood alcohol concentration or BAC.

Your BAC depends on how much you've drunk and how quickly you drank it.

Other important factors affecting BAC are:

  • Your size and weight
 If you're small, your blood alcohol volume is obviously less than that of someone who is larger. So the same amount of alcohol will probably affect you more.

  • Your sex
 Women can't drink as much as men. That's not a male conspiracy but a biological fact! Women are generally smaller. They also have proportionately less body water and more body fat - and alcohol doesn't dissolve easily in fat. That's why, drink for drink, women end up with more alcohol in their blood than men.

  • Your water level
 If you're dehydrated, alcohol will have a greater effect than if your body's water concentration is normal. That's why drinking alcohol in summer or after exercise affects you more.

  • The amount you've eaten
 If you drink a unit of alcohol on an empty stomach, almost all of it will be absorbed in an hour. But if there's food in your stomach, the process will be slower and the alcohol reaches your brain and the rest of your body more slowly.

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What makes you-hic-feel drunk?

Alcohol is quite simply a type of drug. It affects the nerves that pass messages around the body by slowing them down. And the more you drink the greater the effect. The reason people often get more lively when they've had a drink is that alcohol affects parts of the brain responsible for self-control.

Your reactions also slow down, and you may become uncoordinated or unsteady on your feet. Your speech may get slurred and you may start seeing double. If you've had a lot to drink you may also experience strong emotional responses - for instance you may become aggressive or tearful. And because your judgement is impaired, you may do things that you might not normally do - from dancing on tables to going home with strangers. They may seem a good idea at the time, but can be extremely dangerous.

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